Hallmark Channel Adds Recent Theatrical Releases to Slate

Jun 5, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Hallmark Channel will debut “March of the Penguins,” “Troy” and 37 other movies on advertising-supported television in a deal with Warner Brothers Domestic Cable Distribution that builds the network’s slate of recent theatrical releases.

Spending to add more contemporary movies to its lineup marks a change for Hallmark. The theatrical movies it has run have been classic Walt Disney Co. films like “The Love Bug,” and some older films from other studios.

The channel, which was taken off the sales block in April by Crown Media, has been walking the line between maintaining a wholesome image and trying to attract more viewers. Programming now includes family-friendly original movies, mystery movie franchises, and off-network series such as “M*A*S*H,” “Walker, Texas Ranger,” and “Diagnosis Murder.”

That programming mix gave the channel an average 1.1 Nielsen Media Research rating for prime time in May, up 38 percent from a year ago.

David Kenin, executive VP of programming for Hallmark Channel, said the package will help drive ratings, attract more sponsors and increase distribution for the network.

Other movies in the deal with Warner Bros. include “Miss Congeniality,” The In-Laws,” “Hearts in Atlantis,” “Kangaroo Jack,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “New York Minute,” “Felicity: An American Girl Adventure” and “Samantha: An American Girl Holiday.”

“This movie package is the next major step for us as we continue to offer an unparalleled viewing destination that appeals to the contemporary family, and is a key element in our goal to become the most-watched cable network,” said Scott Anderson, senior VP of acquisitions and programming for Hallmark.